Digital Download review by: Chris Hammond
KK’s Priest – Sermons of the Sinner (2021)
Label: EX1 Records
Style: Heavy Metal
- HELLFIRE THUNDERBOLT
- SERMONS OF THE SINNER
- SACERDOTE Y DIABLO
- RAISE YOUR FISTS
- BROTHERS OF THE ROAD
- METAL THROUGH AND THROUGH
- WILD AND FREE
- HAIL FOR THE PRIEST
- RETURN OF THE SENTINEL
KK Downing is one of the founding members of the band that we know as Judas Priest. His guitar solos and breakdowns were best heard on many of Priest’s early and popular albums. Downing left Judas Priest in 2011 over differences with the other members of the band and management.
Since then he has stayed relatively quiet (in regards to his musical career), until now. Downing has assembled his own band consisting of former Judas Priest singer Time “Ripper” Owens, bassist Tony Newton, A.J Mills on guitar, and Sean Elg on Drums. Together they have formed “KK’s Priest” and recently released (October 1) their first album entitled “Sermons of the Sinner”. The band has already started work on a follow-up to this album, which is said to be a more collaborated effort between the band’s members.
The album starts off with what feels like a very dated interlude entitled “Incarnation”, but then leads into “Hellfire Thunderbolt”, this feels fun, but still in the same vein as older Judas Priest material (Painkiller). The shredding solos, the falsetto vocals, and the drums are all there, but missing is the soul. It feels overly produced, with cheesy thunderbolt sound effects that might impress 13 yr old boys, but not people who have been around this sort of music for decades.
Some of the band’s lyrics feel very dated, especially when they attempt to make themselves sound younger than they are. This is most evident in the lyrics on songs like “Wild and Free”. The instrumentals are amazing, but top them off with lyrics like “We’re rule breakers and hellraisers, we’re breaking loose because we’re wild and Free“. Normally, I’d give a pass to lyrics like this, but when the band’s founding member is nearing 70 years old, one would think the lyrics might be more suitable.
Then there are songs that pass the Priesteque sound, like “Sermons of the Sinner”. Great solos, great vocals, and the band sound are whole here. When the band tries to sound relevant in today’s scope of metal, I feel they suffer the most. “Raise your Fists” and “Hail for the Priest” may have worked well in the ’80s, but they suffer from a lack of originality. This isn’t to say all of their attempts to sound fresh fall flat, The song “Metal Through and Through” has its moments by mixing a slower tempo musically and vocally. Sure at times, it feels like a cover song of a B-side of a Pink Floyd song, but nonetheless interesting. The song “Brothers of the Road” although, very dated is just sort of a fun little song with Owens’s doing his rap/talk vocals. KK has fun on the guitars on this one and so do the rest of the band, you can feel it in the music, something I wish I could say for all the songs on this album.
KK’S Priest is full of talented musicians, but not fully having input on the album’s material is very evident. This was Kk’s baby through and through, which has good moments but is overshadowed by the lack of originality. On your first album (especially) you want to make yourself stand out and grow a fanbase, not continue with only the fans you had while in other bands. Sure Sermons of the Sinner is something I’d listen to again, but it isn’t one that I’ll remember for months to come. There’s just nothing that stands out or gives you chills, which hopefully the band will rectify on their sophomore offering.
Rating 2.7 out of 5
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